Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

The WWF: Still Donning the Science Costume

Why doesn’t the World Wildlife Fund argue for its vision based solely on that vision’s merits?

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has submitted written evidence to the UK House of Commons committee examining the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In the first sentence of that document, it calls itself “a science-based conservation organization.”

The WWF can be described in many ways:

  • as a wealthy, multi-national non-profit organization
  • an influential pressure group
  • a collection of professional lobbyists, marketing geniuses, and fundraising wizards
  • a political force to be reckoned with

The people who work for the WWF don’t sell products – they sell ideas. They spend all day, every day, advocating a particular philosophy – a worldview regarding the relationship between Nature and humanity. They admit they want to change “the way we think.”

The WWF has goals and a “vision.” It thinks the entire world needs a new, “low carbon” economy. And not just any low carbon economy – it’s demanding an equitable one on a particular timetable.

These unelected, unaccountable individuals also insist that:

All efforts should be undertaken to keep warming of global average temperature below 1.5°C (compared to 1850).

Please note that this is lower than the 2°C we usually hear about. Goals, timetables, numbers plucked from the air. That’s what the WWF is really about.

Scientific organizations don’t view pre-schoolers as a funding mechanism. Yet WWF-Canada has raised $175,000 via the birthday celebrations of “young environmentalists.” Its website advises parents that

Contributing to WWF-Canada will help your child understand the value of a sustainable future for many generations to come.

Because, you know, the average six-year-old has the capacity to care deeply about “generations to come.”

In its submission to the UK parliament, the WWF says the “international process” by which the IPCC writes its mammoth reports is also “science-based.” It mentions “scientific knowledge” (twice), and talks about there being a “scientific foundation” for “the urgent decarbonisation of the global economy.” All of this occurs in the first paragraph alone.

But here’s the problem. Anyone can say their position is based on science. In Animal Farm, George Orwell’s 1945 novel, the other animals are told that the milk and apples must be reserved for the (ruling elite) pigs since it “has been proved by Science that they “contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig.” Everyone else gets to eat slop.

In other words, among those with undemocratic, totalitarian tendencies, “science” can be used to justify and excuse anything.

Making matters even more complicated, as Roger Pielke Jr. observed in his 2007 book, The Honest Broker,

The scientific enterprise is diverse enough to offer information that can be used to support a diversity of perspectives on just about any subject…

If nearly anyone can truthfully point to some scientific research to support their arguments, it’s rather meaningless to imply that the WWF should be listened to because it is a “science-based” organization.

Why, then does it continue to don this scientific costume? Why doesn’t it argue for its vision based solely on that vision’s merits?



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